Sunday, January 31, 2010


I recently watched a movie called Thirst and I strongly recommend it to anyone who likes horror movies or vampires. It was made by Korean director Park Chan-wook, and it tells the story of a priest who becomes a vampire through an emergency blood transfusion. This development predictably impacts his faith-based lifestyle in a rather significant way, though he tries to retain his moral principles. He then encounters a woman he knew in his childhood and becomes infatuated with her, and after that shit gets all sorts of weird and horrible.

It's basically the same core premise as Twilight, only in Korea and with a cast of characters that are in desperate need of professional help. Seriously, the vampirism is possibly the least terrifying aspect of this film. Just watching the woman and her family go through their daily routine is literally hair-raising. Throw in immortality and a thirst for blood and things get real messy.

Thirst examines a human-vampire relationship in a realistic modern context, and takes a worst-case scenario type approach to the subject. Just about everything that could go wrong does in this movie, but excruciatingly slowly. The film's pace is one of its greatest strengths because it creates a sense of tension and dread that never dissipates. It's so palpable that one of the scariest scenes in the movie hinges on a character's blinking. No joke, there's actually a slow camera pan to reveal the blinking, and it is brilliant.

Thirst reminded me a lot of Let The Right One In, only much scarier. I didn't expect that since Let The Right One In features vampire children, which is even terrifying to write. Children acting scary is a tried-and-true staples of the horror genre, but in practice it's a lot less terrifying than insane Korean people who become vampires. Let The Right One In featured a generally moral vampire who was a lethal monster but befriended a small boy. Both characters acted questionably at times but nevertheless evoked consistent sympathy through their relationship. In contrast, Thirst's characters are damaged human beings who make decisions that are difficult to justify. In that sense they are much more human, as is their relationship. Their unpredictability and complex morals add to aforementioned feeling of constant dread, and make the film a literally gut-wrenching experience. Thirst is one of the more interesting, terrifying, and human vampire movies I have ever seen.

No comments:

Post a Comment